DC walls off city to establish new freedoms for law-abiding citizens

As previously mentioned, the District of Columbia’s law banning carrying firearms outside of the home was ruled unconstitutional. DC Police Chief Lanier instructed her officers not to arrest DC residents who are carrying outside the home if they’ve registered their firearms with the city. She also honored out-of-state residents with concealed carry permits. As for open carry, or anyone stopped on the street carrying a firearm, specifically if they’re from Vermont or Virginia, Lanier’s order instructed DC police to run their names to check for prior felonies. If the person in question comes up clean, send them on their way.


Well, all good things come to an end.

DC’s District Court ordered a 90-day stay in the Palmer decision to allow the city council to draft legislation allowing residents to carry their firearms in public; both parties agreed to this:

On July 28, 2014, Defendants filed a partially unopposed motion to stay pending appeal or, in the alternative, for 180 days and for immediate administrative stay.See Dkt. No. 52 at 1. In support of this motion, Defendants’ counsel advised the Court that he had conferred with Plaintiffs’ counsel, “who indicated that [P]laintiffs do not oppose a 90-day stay starting immediately ‘pending the city council enacting remedial legislation that complies with constitutional standards.'”

See id. at 1-2. Based on the parties’ agreement that an immediate 90-day stay is appropriate to provide the city council with an opportunity to enact appropriate legislation consistent with the Court’s ruling, the Court hereby ORDERS that Defendants’ motion for a stay is GRANTED to the extent that the Court’s July 24, 2014 Order is stayed nunc pro tunc for 90 days, i.e., until October 22, 2014.

As for die-hard gun rights supporters who would question why the plaintiffs would support a stay, that legal route was already underway.

At least on these terms, the reason is to give the city council time to clarify statues and establish permit-issuing protocols for law-abiding citizens; something that George Lyon, a plaintiff in the case, wants in DC.


Yesterday, Emily Miller of Fox5 in DC interviewed George Lyon who said, “The appropriate thing to do would be to enact a reasonable licensing permitting law that would achieve the legitimate governmental interest that the District has in seeing that only qualified and responsible people carry firearms.”

He was saying this in the hopes that the city wouldn’t spend millions of tax dollars on a prolonged legal fight.

Right now, if you planned on carrying in DC, you missed the boat.  If you live outside of the District, stay on the other side of the Potomac. Nevertheless, this is still a victory. Every state in the country – and soon the District of Columbia – has some form of law recognizing a citizens’ right to carry firearms in public for self-defense.

This decision ensures that the city council will draft some form of carry law.

Will there be almost suffocating regulations regarding concealed and open carry? You bet. This is DC. The city could try to push for a ban on open carry, given the politically sensitive nature of city, but establish a stringent concealed carry process. It shouldn’t be shocking if the process is “may issue,” meaning DC could deny you a permit for arbitrary reasons.

Additionally, we could see a bunch of benchmarks that could trigger another lawsuit. I’m referring to the “good cause” requirement that San Diego County adopted, which was struck down in the Ninth Circuit’s Petura v. San Diego decision earlier this winter.


Last May, the Supreme Court declined to hear Drake v. Jerejian; a similar case regarding New Jersey’s “justifiable need” clause in its handgun permit process. The issue remains to be settled.

Again, I’m not a lawyer; I’m just citing past legislation that other anti-gun legislatures have enacted in previous years. In a bastion of liberalism like DC, we should expect a heavily regulated permit process.

On the other hand, the principle of law-abiding citizens carrying firearms in public for self-defense has finally crossed the Potomac River.

Palmer v. DC – Order to Stay Decision by jpr9954

* This post has been updated.

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David Strom 9:50 AM | February 23, 2024